Colchester United's youngsters lose out to Sheffield Wednesday

COLCHESTER United's under-18s came very close to a shock result after narrowly losing 2-1 to Professional Development League Two Northern Section leaders Sheffield Wednesday, writes BRIAN WALLER.

The U's under-18s, who sit bottom of the Southern Division and without a win this season, led for more than half of the match and pushed the Owls all the way before losing to a late penalty, at Florence Park.

Colchester took the lead after four minutes through Ollie Sims, who fired home a left-foot shot after Jake Hutchinson had played the ball back inside following a fine break.

Wednesday almost equalised immediately when Isaac Rice's header hit the bar, following Liam Waldock's corner.

However, Colchester were competing well and went close midway through the first half when Marley Miranda's shot on the right angle of the box flew just wide of the far post.

And the U's keeper Callum Coulter was then close to scoring on 24 minutes when his long kick caught the wind and bounced over the Wednesday custodian's head but dropped a few yards wide.

Half-time arrived with Colchester deservedly ahead but the hosts had to defend into the swirling wind, in the second half.

And Wednesday equalised five minutes after the break through Dellan Thompson, who headed home at the back post following Waldock's free-kick from the left.

Coulter denied Waldock soon after with a block down to his right before Wednesday had penalty appeals rejected after Taymar Fleary collided with an opponent.

Charles Hagan headed over the bar for Wednesday before the crucial moment of the match saw Wednesday grab their winner, with nine minutes remaining.

The visitors were awarded a penalty when Coulter rushed out to contest with Elliott Vasalo following a ball in from the right and after the Wednesday player went down under the challenge, the referee pointed to the spot.

Waldock confidently put the ball away to the keeper’s right but the referee ordered a retake, as the ball had rolled forward off the spot.

Nevertheless, Waldock's second attempt had the same result, as the ball was then despatched into the home net.

Harvey Sayer did his best to muster an equaliser for Colchester with a tremendous run down the left which saw him beat several players and burst into the box, before seeing his shot blocked and bounce back off him for a goal kick.

But despite an excellent effort, the U's fell to a narrow loss.

U's U18: Coulter, Akolbire, Fouche, Kane, Sayer, Cornish, Kennedy, Fleary (sub Redgrave), Miranda (sub Parish), Sims (sub Stagg), Hutchinson. Subs (not used), Thomas, Collins.